As consumer interests are changing and evolving, so should your sales strategy. Only three percent of adults have written goals, however, great salesmen and industry leaders continue to write down their goals in order to prioritize. So should your company. By keeping a document of your sales strategy, you can measure and track your progress to reaching your objectives.
A sales strategy is not the same thing as a marketing strategy, which is more conceptual and is concerned primarily with company image and operational goals. Instead, a sales strategy is more about how you “close the deal.”
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Create a Compelling Sales Strategy
Creating a sales strategy seems like a daunting task, however, there are basic questions that you can begin by asking to build the foundation of your plan. A great place to start is with a SWOT analysis for any new sales objective. Internally, what are your strengths and weaknesses? Externally, where can you find new opportunities and eliminate threats?
Begin by brainstorming what objectives you are trying to meet with your strategy. These goals should be measurable, so you can track whether or not the new strategy you implement is successful. Rather than creating a vague, general objective of “getting more annual sales,” you goal could set your objective as, “increase overall annual sales of gizmos by 15 percent over the previous year.” This is a great starting point and will keep your sales team focused and understand what you are trying to achieve.
Your sales objective is always linked to the sales strategy and can be attained though implementing a series of tactics. Continuing with the example, if the objective is to increase annual sales by 15 percent, your sales strategy could be to raise the average size of deal closed by 20 percent over the next quarter and 50 percent over the next fiscal year. The tactic you implement could be to develop a compensation and incentive programs for your team that get them focused on the KPIs that will move the needle and support your growth plan. Then, announce the program at the beginning of the term.
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Key Elements to a Sales Strategy
By creating a sales strategy to include specific objectives, follow-through strategies and growth tactics, you are creating a path for you and your sales team to follow that will potentially lead you to your goal. Keep in mind that the people on your team play a major role in the success of your business. It is important to have open communication. Recognize the achievements of sales leaders and know when to let go of bottom performers.
Just as the people on your sales team are critical to the success of your sales strategy, so are the people you are selling your product or service to. If you haven’t yet defined your target market, take the time to know who your customers are and clarify any potential confusion with your team.
- Are you focusing on all your customers, or just certain segments?
- Is your target market segmentation geographic or psychographic?
- How large is your potential market?
The key is to be as detailed as possible, defining each aspect of your sales strategy so you can adequately track and measure results. The only way to determine if your tactics are working is to know what is happening within your sales results. Define what metrics you are using and how frequently you will measure your objectives. This should happen at least quarterly, if not monthly. Depending upon the objective, it could occur weekly or even daily.
For example, social media provides real-time measurements on how effective you are in reaching your targeted audience.
If you are not seeing the results you wanted, it is time to reassess what process to use to reach your current objectives. Know when to skew your strategy and when to scrap it altogether and start over
If you are seeing the results you wanted, congratulations! Your strategy is a success. Remember that consumer interests and sales tactics are constantly changing, as should your sales strategy.